Indy To Honor Parnelli Jones
INDIANAPOLIS – Iconic driver Parnelli Jones will be saluted in a celebration of the 50th anniversary of his victory in the 1963 Indianapolis 500 during “Legends Day Honoring Parnelli Jones” on Saturday, May 25, 2013 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Jones drove the No. 98 Agajanian Willard Battery Watson/Offy roadster, nicknamed “Calhoun,” to victory from the pole in the 47th Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 1963. Jones will drive the fabled car May 25 in parade laps on the 2.5-mile oval, accompanied by 34 other Indianapolis 500 front-engine roadsters.
Jones, the 1961 Indianapolis 500 co-Rookie of the Year, will participate in a question-and-answer session with fans May 25 on the Coca-Cola Stage in the Pagoda Plaza, followed by an autograph session.
“I am thrilled that Indianapolis Motor Speedway has picked me to be honored on Legends Day on the Saturday before the 2013 Indianapolis 500,” Jones said. “I’ve watched the day and the events surrounding it grow over the past couple years. I remember A.J. Foyt being honored two years ago and Roger Penske being honored last year – that’s a pretty good group of guys to be associated with in the racing world and at Indianapolis.
“It will be fun to come back to Indy this year and remember my win from 1963, 50 years ago. Although I’ll tell you what: It seems like only 15 years ago. Time sure flies. I’ve been very fortunate to have been a winning driver and winning car owner at Indianapolis over the years. I always like coming back to the Speedway to catch up with friends, drivers and fans. I wish it was May already.”
Other featured events on “Legends Day Honoring Parnelli Jones” will include the annual Public Drivers’ Meeting on pit road adjacent to the Tower Terrace grandstand, autograph sessions with the 2013 Indianapolis 500 starting field of 33 drivers and former Indy 500 drivers, and a huge Indianapolis 500 memorabilia show.
Admission to IMS on “Legends Day Honoring Parnelli Jones” will be $10 for adults, with children 12 and under free when accompanied by an adult.
“Parnelli Jones was one of the most skilled and popular Indianapolis 500 drivers of all time and always has been a wonderful ambassador for ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,'” said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and chief executive officer. “It’s a great pleasure and privilege to honor him on the 50th anniversary of his victory in ‘Calhoun.’ This special day will create many magical memories for everyone who loves IMS and this great race.”
Longtime California resident Jones also won the pole in 1962 at 150.370 mph, the first single lap and four-lap qualifying average faster than 150 mph in Indianapolis 500 history. Jones finished in the top 10 four times in seven “500” starts. He led 492 laps, still seventh among all-time lap leaders.
Jones also won “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in 1970 and 1971 as co-owner of Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing, which fielded the famed Johnny Lightning Special for driver Al Unser.
The 97th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 26.